Randy Guthrie – Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelist
http://blogs.msdn.com/MIS_Laboratory

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If the MySchoolApp project I wrote about last week was a little too challenging, then the AppMakr might be just what you are looking for to get your feet wet creating a first Windows Phone 7 app and getting it into the marketplace. Both MySchoolApp and AppMakr repackage content from a source website and present it via feeds to an app you submit. Clearly the risk here is that hundreds of students from the same university create carbon-copy apps for their school, but with a little creativity and judgment, there is room for everyone.

Bob Familiar, Director of Academic Developer and Platform Evangelism [US-East] has put together a step-by-step handbook for using AppMakr. I’ll share some highlights so you get the idea:

Step One: Log into the AppMakr website and select “Windows Phone 7 MashUp”:

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Step Two: You select the URL that you want to use as the source of your project ie: your school, business, organization, etc.

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Step Three: (this is the really cool part) AppMakr searches the site and collects feeds, photos, content, links,etc. and makes a first pass at building your app using what it finds.

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Then AppMakr gives you a screen where you can select titles and icons from the content that it found; you literally build your app on their simulator in a drag-and drop manner: “what you see is what you get”. Can it get easier than this?

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You iterate through this process on the various pages you want to include in your app. Then you pick an overall color scheme for your app and do a little more customization. There are some constraints that you have to follow; the handbook explains all this in detail.

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Once you are done you “publish” your app, and AppMakr creates a compressed “.xap” file that you will upload to the marketplace for (1) certification testing and then (2) distribution to the marketplace.

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When you get the .xap file you have a couple more simple tasks to complete:

  • Required screen shots for the marketplace
  • Description
  • Tile images, etc.

From there you go to your developer marketplace account, and follow the instructions to upload and publish your app. Note: if your content used without permission from the owners of the website you are linking to, then you probably want to distribute your app for free. If you charge anything, even less than a dollar, you can expect a very quick and painful lesson in intellectual property law from the site owner’s attorneys.

Good luck! Let me know what you think. Also, check out my Windows Phone 7 Cheat Sheet. A one-page reference to most of the learning content for the Windows Phone 7.

Cheers,

Randy